Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Sphinx is Alone

For the first time in our lifetime and for many lifetimes, the Sphinx is once again alone. The Great Pyramid of Giza stands unencumbered by clamoring tourists and trinket sellers and the Plateau is silent once more. Gates are closed and locked, keeping the area free of any mobs...and tourists.

Souvenir shop owners sip tea, talking amongst themselves. The "postcards, papyrus, ceramic scarabs and alabaster pyramids" unsold. The debate of the empty dusty tourist quarter is whether they are better off with or without Hosni Mubarak. The consensus is that although Mubarak made Egypt safe for the tourists, that regardless, the tourists will come back...eventually.

Tahrir Square, the center of Cairo's revolt, is a mere 10 miles from the Great Pyramid itself. So close and yet seemingly a million miles away. In 2009 over 12 MILLION tourists visited the Plateau from every corner of the world. Revenue that year, topped $11 Billion.

But for now the Giza Plateau and it's wondrous monuments get a break from 21st century life and once again reclaim the silence, gazing upon the empty desert as they have for over 5,000 years.

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